Front Porch Blog

The Declining Power of Coal – May 2009 numbers released

The coal industry and their associated front groups like to claim that coal provides more than half of our electricity. This was once true, but has not been the case for several years. As we’ve reported throughout the year, the importance of coal in our national electricity generation is declining at a pretty remarkable rate. EIA just released their numbers for May 2009, and once again coal is down. The year to date numbers are staggering. From January-May 2009, coal produced just 45.4% of our electricity, and the monthly numbers are getting lower and lower. In the most recent recorded month (May) coal was down to 42.6% of electricity generation.


Big Coal wants us to believe that without burning more and more coal, our economy will shrink and we might even freeze in the dark. But a close look at our energy picture tells a very different story: yes, we still burn a lot of coal, but we can burn less of it all the time while cleaner energy sources that provide even more jobs take its place.

Not only CAN we transition to a clean energy future, but it’s already starting to happen. The reason coal is on the decline – even before carbon regulations – is that it simply can no longer compete with cleaner energy sources like wind power and natural gas. For an encouraging contrast, let’s take a look at the increasing power of wind:






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